Birthdaying in Berlin
Before heading to Amsterdam (the new love of my life) to really kick off my wild birthday celebrations for the big 2-5 with the rest of the crew, I spent my actual birthday weekend cramming in everything that Berlin has to offer. Sometimes I do wonder whether I should have been born German, as sausages and beer are pretty much two of my main food groups (along with pizza and gin), so it seemed like the perfect place to ring in surviving a whole 25 years of life, and aforementioned gin consumption.
So how do I usually like to celebrate my birthday you ask? Well, by filling my chops with as much food and drink as possible until I basically can’t move, then contouring like crazy to cover up the effects for a night on the town. Being in my spiritual culinary home, I naturally went a little overboard on the former point. Nothing but my usual classy behaviour really.
However, I did take a short break in between all of the indulging for some sight-seeing over the weekend, and here’s the cream of the crop…
What I saw
Nazi Germany and the Holocaust was always a period of history that really interested me in school – purely because it was so unbelievable that something like that could have ever happened, and also because I’m slightly morbid as a person. Having also worked in publishing academic history books, in a way I’ve always been learning more and more about what went down in those dark days, so I really wanted to check out the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as it always looked so striking in the books we were publishing. If the memorial itself isn’t visually powerful enough, the underground exhibition is just completely flooring. On the walk in, you’re presented with a timeline of truly shocking events, before entering into the diary room, which contains portions of letters to family members and excerpts of diary entries that were salvaged from prisoners on their way to the concentration camps. It’s the most moving exhibition I’ve ever seen, and I’m not so much of an emotional brick after all – one letter to a parent to their children had me in tears. If anything, you should visit for a firm reminder that the human race isn’t always so great, and that we should all look out for each other, no matter what skin colour, age, or religion, to prevent anything so horrendous and destroying from happening again.
From there, we headed over to the historical Reichstag building, home to the German Parliament, and up into the impressive dome on the roof. Paired with your friendly audio tour guide, you climb the spiral around the mirrored centrepiece and look out onto all of the beautiful twinkling lights of Berlin displayed all around you, before seeing in my birthday at the impressive Brandenburg Gate – one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks.
What I ate
Getting proceedings off to a brilliant start, because after all breakfast is the most important meal of the day, brunch at Factory Girl was first on the agenda – and what a brunch it was. If ever you’re in the area, check out their omelette and meat/cheese platters, because they’re freakin’ delish. A cute little cafe offering freshly squeezed juices and pastries, there’s no other place to kick off your day.
OF COURSE I found time to fit in a burger, and the hip Burgermeister was everything a burger addict could ever want. Skin-on fries, an oozing BBQ sauce and a range of German beers – it was exactly what I imagine Heaven to look like, just lacking the Hemsworth brothers.
(Sozza for the fuzzy picture quality, I was still saving for my big gal camera at the time – better photography to come soon!)
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